Jasmine Benavidez and Zach Gallagher. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Jasmine Benavidez and Zach Gallagher. Photo by Robert Eliason.

Hollister residents who enjoy fine barbecue will no longer have to struggle through the traffic on Hwy 156 to take in the offerings at The Smoke Point BBQ in San Juan Bautista. The restaurant had a soft opening at its new satellite location, The Smoke Point Outpost, at the old location of Calavera Coffee at 1709-M Airline Hwy on May 25.

“I am happy to see them here,” said Hollister Mayor Mia Casey. “It is always great to see new businesses opening that will give our folks more variety and options. Not to mention that they have awesome barbecue, and their banana pudding is addictive!”

According to the owner, Michelin-starred chef Jarad Gallagher, the new restaurant is not designed to be a clone of the original. Lacking a full kitchen, all the food is prepared or smoked in San Juan and then delivered to the new restaurant twice daily.

“One of my goals from a barbecue restaurant standpoint,” he said, “is to really bring barbecue down to kind of what it looks like in Texas, more of a fast-serve model. I want it to be a place where people can just pick up good food and have choices. We are going to make it quick and easy and see where that goes.”

The new site offers meat plates, such as turkey, pulled pork, chicken, portobello mushrooms and ribs with one, two, or three meats per plate. The plates come with two side dishes, such as apple ginger coleslaw, mac and cheese, and barbecued beans, as well as a slice of Texas toast.

“The biggest difference between the two places,” said location manager Esme Fryn, “is that we are not a full-service restaurant, and we are starting with just a basic menu. We will definitely be expanding things at some point when our staff is steady and stronger.”

At the moment, a full sandwich menu is not being offered, but selected sandwiches will be available as daily specials, such as the brisket burnt-end sandwich, served with mac and cheese sauce, chipotle aioli and Kansas City barbecue sauce.

“The burnt-end brisket sandwich is very popular already,” Fryn said. “People ask about when it is going to be available, and I tell them, ‘just watch our Instagram, and we will post the specials there.’”

Unlike its San Juan counterpart, the new restaurant will be open seven days a week and stay open much longer, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fryn said the Outpost has been very busy and that word of their opening spread fast.

“At first, we weren’t on Google Maps,” she said. “So you couldn’t find us unless you knew someone that had been here. We had a long line of people, and they all seemed to know each other. It was really cool.”

One of the people who found the place early is Hollister resident Kailyn Barrett and she is planning on being a regular customer.

“There’s no regular barbecue place in town,” said Barrett, “and driving to San Juan’s a little far, especially during traffic time during the week. We live just down the street, so it’s nice that it’s local, and it’s just super good food.”

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